Pre-Orders and an Excerpt – After The Fires Went Out: Amends

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So the pre-orders are up at most retailers for the eBook of After The Fires Went Out: Amends.


The big day is Wednesday, July 22nd, which for your math and/or calendar fans, is a week from today.

So here’s the first few bites of Amends (keep in mind that it’s a spoiler if you haven’t read the first four books of the series):



It feels like the first day at summer camp. Not a good summer camp, mind you, but one that could go either way between forced labour and hockey-mask-themed axe murders.

Considering I’ve dragged my pretty carcass to the site of the New Post Massacre, across a few rivers from the old indenture plantations of Dave Walker… I guess if things go bad I’ll be lucky if all that happens is a recomm-mandatory gig mining moose guano.

It’s possible that the general unpleasantness of the work might save me from all the standard questions about my father.

No, I don’t know if he’s still alive. No, I don’t hang around with his whole gang of McCartney Lakers.

Today is the first time I’ve seen any of them since the attack on our place at Coleraine.

Turns out I didn’t really miss them.

 I’d ridden up from Toronto in a redneck motorcade, two pickup trucks and a couple security guys from Kensington in olive-green uniforms — the Canadian Auxiliary Army being the latest incarnation of our various post-Fire militias — leading in one of those canvas-topped jeeps that look cool but would probably roll right over if it hit a junebug.

It isn’t fall yet, not really, since the trees that have leaves instead of needles are all still green; it looks a lot like summer, even if the harvest is set to start this week.

I’d worked last harvest, actually; we didn’t have enough biodiesel or enough electric combines to make up the gap, so it was many-hands-make-light-work for a lot of it. Wheat was the priority for the mechanized stuff, so I spent two weeks hand-gathering corn along the Grand River.

It felt weird not being there to pitch in, but it’s not like a few commission blowhards would have made all the difference.

Most of the people I’ve come up with — blowhards or otherwise — are total strangers; I’d seen a few of those faces here and there, during the attempted love-in after First President Paquette signed the neutrality treaty with all three versions of the United States. Those faces belonged to two forty-something men who’d worked with Payton Yallow in the good times, and Leyden Decker in the bad… probably two men who had no business representing anyone, really.

Not that I knew what they should have done otherwise.

I mean, I worked with Decker, too, in a way. Not that I knew he was a total shit. But it’s not like I’d ever stood up and spoken out against his stupidly bad policies.

Maybe I have no business being here.

Not that I ever had anything more than my last name and my hopes-to-be-prominent fiancé.

What has Cassy Jeanbaptiste actually done on her own?

Do I even know where to find my goddamn bootstraps?

 I suppose the security guys messaged Matt Kazimierski with our ETA, since he’d parked his own pickup — a white heavy-duty — on Highway 11 to wait for us, right by the turnoff sign for Ch. Hanna Rd.

We don’t put “chemin” at the front of roads in Toronto; I think we pride ourselves on not speaking any French. (Says the girl who’s a quarter Haitian.)

Our little caravan stopped, and Matt hopped out of his truck and ran down the line. Passed the jeep and the first pickup, and right to the passenger side of the second.

Right up to me.

He gave me a ridiculously big smile.

I opened the door and climbed out.

“Cassy,” he said, “it’s great to see you again.”

“It’s good to see you, Mister… uh, Matt.”

He grinned. “First name basis… I like it.

I laughed.

“Did you want to introduce me to everyone else?” he asked.

“I don’t know everyone else,” I said.

“Quiet trip?”

“Well, I know the guy driving this truck.” I motioned to Darrel Meek, the sanitation engineer who’d mostly talked about basketball on the way up.

So I introduced the two, and then we all went over to the two men in the first truck, the compromised assholes from Kensington, neither of whom were big fans of my father, or, by association, of me.

The woodenly handsome Rob Danzart had apparently been the “Minister of Public Works” in the Yallow/Decker regime, while the vividly less attractive Arjun Gehlot had been “Minister of Education”.

I’m not sure how much educating had gotten done in the two years after the comet, but I’d seen first hand how little we’d had in the way of infrastructure improvements.

From what I can tell, those two “public servants” have been more interested in pumping themselves up, at the cost of never accomplishing anything important, and, of course, the necessary political requirement of putting everyone else down.

Including my father, the current target for their bullshit. I wonder how much of that is because I’m here?

The two security guys introduced themselves with only their last names, which I presume is an attempt to seem like a couple of badasses. Honestly, I don’t care enough to ask for more information about Brodeur and Muzyk.

“We’ve got a crew at McCartney Lake,” Matt told me, as he walked me back to my seat. “Been setting up living spaces for over a month now.”

“Back at the old hacienda,” I said.

He nodded. “It’s definitely been strange. But it’s still one of the best spots left up here.”

He opened my truck door for me, all gentlemanlike, and once I’d gotten in and he’d gone and climbed back into his pickup, he took the lead in the procession, bringing us north five or ten more kilometres before turning right onto Nahma Road, making the jog around the burnt-out town of Cochrane.

Darrel Meek was talking about local tryouts for a Toronto-based NBA “Protest Team”, whatever that means; instant regret that I hadn’t asked to ride with Matt.

I’d already known we would be detouring around Cochrane; suggested routes didn’t go through the places that were destroyed. We’d already taken the newly-marked detour around North Bay on the way up, another — and much larger — place that hadn’t made it through.

But still, I wanted to see the town of Cochrane.

It was such a big part of my father’s time up here, part of almost everyone he’d known in the north, Sara Vachon and Fiona Rees, and Matt, of course.

Is it weird that I have more interest in seeing a dead town than spending time with anyone who actually made it out of there?

God. I sound like a teenager.

I feel like a teenager.

We followed the road until it what was apparently the last junction, where the main road seemed to bank left, and going straight started looking more like someone’s driveway.

Not long after, Matt stopped his lead truck at a railway crossing.

He climbed out and made his way back to my door.

Darrel rolled down my window.

“This is where the bridge to New Post was,” Matt told me. “Someone blew it up, probably Ryan Stems.”

I don’t know if he realizes that I’ve read all of the journals. You’d think he’d know that, but… I guess it’s not something people really think about.

I’m not sure Matt’s read them; otherwise, I think he wouldn’t be so gentle on good ol’ Robert Jeanbaptiste. It’s not like Dad painted a particularly flattering picture of Matt Kazimierski.

“Can we keep going?” Darrel asked. “I’d really like to take a shower.”

Matt chuckled.

“No showers?” I asked.

“No, there are showers,” Matt said. “Just not as hot as people like. Er… not yet.”


“Can we go?” Darrel asked again. “Please?”

“Yeah, we’ll go,” Matt said. “Keep your pants on.” He gave me a little smile. “Want to ride up with me? Then I can give you the tour without pissing everyone else off.”

“Sure,” I said, unsure if I was sending the wrong kind of signal.

“Thank Christ,” Darrel said.



My Book is Flopping, and I Just Don’t Care

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So I have this book out, and it’s a book I poured a lot of time and effort into, with a premise that I really believe in. Near future science fiction, climate change, geoengineering, rocketry, 3d printing… I’m excited at seeing what happens in Book Two and beyond…

But it hasn’t really sold.

And I don’t seem to care that much at all.


Good question, no one.

I will be very sad if this book fades into obscurity… but you know what?

It won’t. Well… not yet. (Eventually, everything fades away, especially after the heat death of the universe.)

And I don’t need to be in a hurry.

Maybe there’s something wrong with it. The cover, the blurb, the realistic depiction of slightly incompetent spycraft… if so, maybe in three months from now I’ll see that, and I’ll fix it.

But even if there are a few things that aren’t as good as they could be (like in every other book in existence), I know it’s worth what I put in.

And honestly, having written it was more important than having it lauded.

And I’ve been doing this long enough now that I just can’t be brought to my knees by a lack of attention.

Now Available: Iris: Queen of the Partially Redeemed

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That’s right, Schmidt-girl lovers! Seffy and Iris are back, and someone took the time to write it all down.

Is it a cure? And if so, how would they actually spread the frickin thing? It’s not exactly Silver-Lining Friday for Seffy and Iris Schmidt.

Persephone has saved her half-sister Iris from the not-so-undead apocalypse (centered in the picturesque pancake known as the Red River Valley), not that the rest of North America isn’t slowly still finding itself infected and zombified by the mutated “cat-poop” parasite. Trapped in a devastated isolation zone of barricaded homes and coffee shops, the Schmidt sisters realize that there are powerful forces working not to cure the infection, but to find a way to control the minds of the infected.

Now the sheer effort required to keep themselves and their loved ones safe — while trying to stop the douchebag bad guys and save the planet — is threatening to overwhelm their unsteady relationship and endanger their very lives. But it’s starting to dawn on Seffy that there’s a chance she and Iris might be the ones who hold the real power…



The Let-Down Lifecycle of the New Release

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So I have a book that’s coming out soon (Iris: Queen of the Partially Redeemed). I’m going to pick the release date in the next 2-3 days and it will be sometime between January 16 and 31st.

But I don’t want to release it.

Not because I don’t think it’s any good; if I didn’t like it I wouldn’t have written it (hence my recent lack of clown-narrated murder mysteries set in Saskatoon). It’s because I don’t feel like going through the let-down lifecycle of the new release.


The Let-Down Lifecycle of the New Release

1. Writing Phase: Writer self-motivates not just by enjoyment of storytelling, but visualizations of success, fame, and riches based on the release of Book Two from a little-known series.

2. Pre-release Phase: Book is completed (minus final polishing that will occur until at least a full week after it’s released), and while there are a few butterflies clawing away at the writer’s stomach lining, those visualizations are still showing up, if slightly less unrealistic (not success, but maybe not complete failure).

3. Release Day: Crap. Crap. Crap. Are the sales reports lagging? Is the “Buy Now” button broken?

4. First Review (let’s assume it’s pretty good): Phew. But why is no one buying?

5. Second Review (scathing): Writer wants to fake own death, maybe something involving a radio telescope and a big bag of rotting onions.

6. The Nothing Phase: Writer wonders when someone will take notice of the book, but worries about the day when someone actually does.


I like writing, and I do believe in what I’m writing (and accept that by their very nature, people closest to you will be wary of every creative thing you do). I’m in it for the long run, knowing that in the end of all of this, I will have had tens of thousands of readers, and some of those readers will have enjoyed what I do enough to be sad once I’ve told my last story.

But I wish there was a way to just throw these books into a vacuum tube on release day, and let some other Regan deal with the fact that a big name like Denzel Washington signed on for some other guy’s post-apocalyptic book-turned-movie. (Personally, I still envision Giancarlo Esposito as Baptiste, so maybe it’s a blessing in disguise.)

So, in essence, I want to write, and have plenty of readers, but I want to never have a bad day. Is that too much to ask?

It’s Release Day for First Lights!

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Once again hoisting his scattered and sickening thoughts on an unsuspecting populace, Regan Wolfrom — the same Regan who is now talking about himself in the third person — celebrates the release of his book, not mentioning at all that through his inability to understand the CreateSpace process, he had the paperback version up for sale a week too early.

Yes, it’s release day.

First Lights.

offplanet, book one.